As the warmer weather finally arrives, the deluge of music festivals begin to fill the hot summer weekends. This week adHOME discussed a fairly new festival one year in the making called WayHome, sister festival to Bonnaroo.
The purpose of WayHome is to bring the vibe of Coachella to Ontario. This years big headliner is Arcade Fire, and tickets are almost sold out. Anticipation is high for this year’s festival, as last year they piqued a lot of interest with their announcement event. If you’re local to Toronto, you probably saw the array of posters urging people not to go to The Great Hall. The signs were branded similarly to the WayHome posters advertised, which was the only hint that the signs were related to the festival.
Only the first 350 people to show up at The Great Hall made it in. There was no guest list, no VIP and no connections that could possibly get you ahead of others in line. The lucky 350 were given an envelope that read “Do Not Open.” Naturally, many people opened the envelopes and to their surprise discovered a free pass to the first year of WayHome festival.
Things were just starting to get exciting when they announced the first ever line up for WayHome. Big artists like Kendrick Lamar, Alt-J and Modest Mouse were featured headliners for the festival. But there was one more thing…
The people who resisted temptation to open the envelope traded them in for a lifetime pass to the festival. The word of mouth & excitement derived from just a simple strategy garnered interest in the festival and promoted an air of mystery. But even more than that the announcement proved that WayHome was in it for the long haul.
This year, WayHomer’s are enticed with a scavenger hunt. A photo was posted on the WayHome events page of black envelope numbered 15/15 with coordinates, which led WayHomer’s to the Mod Club in Toronto. People searched the venue diligently to find the 15 envelopes, which had a free VIP ticket to this year’s festival. This mysterious scavenger hunt idea created a lot of engagement in the Toronto area, and much deserved attention for the festival. Most recently, VIP ticket holders are invited to an event at The Drake in Toronto as a sneak peak of what’s in store for the 2016 festival. The Drake partnered up with WayHome to provide top of the line catering to those who splurged on a VIP ticket to the festival. Many people who saw advertisements for The Drake and WayHome’s VIP event expressed confusion, as the name “Drake” associated with WayHome led a lot of festival goers to believe that Drake, a Canadian rapper and song writer was joining the line-up for the festival. Regardless of the confusion it caused, I think WayHome used this partnership to their advantage. All publicity is good publicity, and the strategic use of the name “Drake” on their advertisements did nothing but gain awareness for the festival.
Although WayHome is a new festival, we love the marketing tactics they’ve used to gain traction. They’ve created a vibe of mystery and urgency with their marketing strategy, and have done well in creating a vibe separate from Coachella or any other popular festival to date.
For details about camping and getting to the festival grounds visit the official WayHome Website. If WayHome has piqued your curiosity, check out this playlist with music from all of the artists featured on this years line up.